The Legend of Korra: “The Coronation” Book 4 Chapter 3 Review

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Book 4 continues to settle in with a relatively quiet, though significant entry as the Earth Kingdom’s future changes hands.

The premiere did a great job of showing us the differences between the two potential rulers of the Earth Kingdom. That story came to a head in The Coronation with Prince Wu getting stepping by Kuvira’s announcement. Meanwhile, Korra gets training from Toph in some of the most fun scenes of the series.

But before that, Wu again demonstrates that his brand of leadership would hardly be effective. He’s incompetent and over-dramatic, not much of an improvement over his aunt. There was also way too much of him in this episode. Like, way too much.

At the coronation, Kuvira announces that she’s not going to allow Wu to rule the kingdom, instead appointing herself in charge of the new Earth Empire. Yikes. That went from monarchy to dictatorship fast. Maybe too fast.

There is something a bit unfortunate about the fact that the villain in this franchise that Kuvira has the most in common with is Fire Lord Ozai. So far, the Korra villains have been complicated to the point where their goals didn’t seem all that evil. A lot of Kuvira’s morally sound efforts have taken place offscreen. We know she’s uniting the Earth Kingdom and bringing food to the hungry, but she did so in such a threatening way in the premiere. There she was interestingly gray, but I could have used a little more moral ambiguity before she went full-on evil like she did here.

Two things are helping this problem though. The first is the outstanding voice work Zelda Williams is doing as Kuvira. The second is that, as Bolin pointed out, Kuvira isn’t that far off from Korra personality wise. Perhaps this tyrant will force the Avatar to confront her own flaws, bringing her, and eventually the world, balance.

But that brings up something Toph said to Korra in this episode. She praises herself as chief of police, but acknowledges that she didn’t stop crime. That’s why Raava made it possible for her to reappear in another soul after the previous one dies in the first place.

So let’s talk about Korra and Toph’s time together in the swamp. The writing for Toph brought about so much nostalgia from Avatar: The Last Airbender. If any character were to change the least between series, it would be Toph, and that came through hilariously in this episode. There was so much to love about Toph bullying around Korra, cackling the whole way. It was also great so see just how powerful she still is. It gave me hopes for an eventual original Team Avatar reunion and possible contribution to Kuvira’s defeat. How great would it be to see Toph, Katara, and Zuko fighting alongside Korra, Mako, Bolin, Asami, and the rest for the final battle we see in this universe? It seems like a fanboy dream for now, but we’ll see.

Korra’s arc continued as she found herself unable to fight. Toph senses that there’s still some metal poison left in her. As she tries to bend it out, Korra lurches, making it impossible. Toph points out that maybe Korra doesn’t want the poison out of her, as it’s shirked a lot of her Avatar responsibilities. Toph then brings Korra’s arc back to herself, saying that if she wants the metal out of her, she’ll have to bend it out herself.

The episode ended with two intriguing teases. Tenzin sends his three children to go find Korra, which is an exciting development because these three are all older now, making them more than capable in a fight. The second tease showed Varrick working on some technology for Kuvira that involved spirit vines. Just what could be the use of this new device?

The Coronation was another great entry for Book 4. Toph added a lot of personality and nostalgia to Korra’s arc, while the Earth Kingdom may be in more trouble than ever before. Kuvira may be a little heavy-handed in the villain category, but there are avenues present that could improve her characterization. Let’s just get rid of Wu. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

 

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